Nearly everyone experiences discomfort in their eyes at some point in their life. In most cases, the cause of the pain is not serious, and the symptoms will go away on their own. However, there are times when sore eyes are a sign of something more serious. To determine what is going on, you will need to see your eye doctor and explain where the pain is coming from, such as the conjunctiva, cornea, sclera or iris.
Below are some possible reasons why your eyes may hurt. Remember to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist to rule out serious conditions.
Blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelid. It’s typically not painful, though it can be itchy, red and swollen. The inflammation is caused by a clogged oil gland at the base of your eyelashes. It can be treated by placing warm compresses on the eyelids to loosen deposits.
Also known as pinkeye, this condition is caused by allergies and infections. The conjunctiva (white part of the eye) gets red and swollen because the blood vessels swell. Most of the time, pinkeye can be treated with self-care, such as warm compresses and lubricating eye drops. It’s also common for medications to be prescribed to speed up healing.
When your cornea is inflamed or infected, this is called a corneal abrasion. It can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection and is more likely to happen if you overwear your contact lenses. Fortunately, these abrasions heal quickly, though an antibiotic ointment and steroid may be needed.
Dry eye can be caused from a number of underlying factors, such as allergies, autoimmune conditions and environmental factors. Artificial tears are usually the first course of treatment, though there are medications like Restasis that may be prescribed as well.
When pressure builds up inside the eye, it can lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma damages your eye’s optic nerve, and without treatment can eventually lead to total loss of vision. In the early stages, glaucoma usually presents no symptoms, but over time, the pressure can be uncomfortable.
Iritis refers to inflammation in the iris (colored part of the eye). It’s unclear what causes iritis, but genetic factors are believed to be a contributing factor. Patients often describe a feeling of tearing, redness and achiness. Your eye doctor may prescribe steroid eye drops and dilating eye drops.
A stye is a swollen area on the eyelid that is typically caused by a bacterial infection. Self-care is usually enough to get rid of the stye, though it’s not uncommon to need an antibiotic ointment and even surgery if it doesn’t go away.
These are just some of the possible reasons why your eyes may hurt. The good news is that most of these conditions are easily treatable with simple at-home solutions and antibiotic or steroid ointments. For more serious problems, contact the experts at Empire Retina Consultants.